Here’s our minivan. We bought it about 18 months ago and it transformed my driving experience. It made access to alpine hikes a breeze. Road trips and drive-in movies were awesome. I loved not having to hike in from the highway end of our driveway even once last winter, and knowing that winding mountain roads covered in snow were safer with our 4-wheel-drive and high ground clearance. The right-hand drive was easy to get used to, and while there are more and more of these beasts in the area, I also loved the mildly eccentric aura that it created around us. Fuel mileage has been pretty decent, and it’s a spacious and comfortable vehicle for five or more.
But the Delica is showing its age (it’s a 1994), especially since we’re such mileage-hogs. Our at-home family is smaller now, and I’m not driving five teenagers to choir practice anymore. In another month all three of my older kids will be in possession of driver’s Learners Permits (Erin and Noah having delayed attaining their full licensure due to a combination of temperament and lack of proximity to home). And really, what is the wisdom in having beginning drivers learn their basic skills in a right-hand-drive vehicle? So we’re planning to sell it and buy something new or new-ish. Something with all-wheel drive, but smaller and cheaper to maintain, considerably more fuel-efficient and with the driver’s seat on the left. I also like the idea of having airbags again. I’d like a few airbags. Hoping to make this a reality before winter hits full-force, since this is a pretty good time of year to be selling a snow-trampling monster minivan.
We’re now spending part of each week in a city. When we get to Nelson, we’ve been trying to leave the van parked at the house, and walk as much as we can. It’s been so much fun to poke our way around amongst the secret stairways and paths in a city where the terrain makes drivable roads a bit of an engineering challenge. Our house in Nelson is a mere 750 metres from downtown, but 100 metres above it with most of the elevation gain taking place over just 400 metres. Just getting home is a workout, and it’s a workout we tend to do at least a couple of times a day. The sidewalks run places roads can’t, and we love the feeling of winding our way amongst lovely homes and beneath hardwood trees with changing leaves, up “sidewalks” like the one pictured above.
So we’re spending three days a week in a walkable city, and when we’re home we hardly need to drive at all. We’re still doing two trips a week to Nelson, but soon that will be in a much smaller vehicle that gets double the mileage. Our carbon footprint should diminish dramatically in size this year.